Kids sure come up with a lot of fun questions – like the little boy who asked his mom, “Was everything in black and white in the olden days?” Or the little girl who really wanted to know where the light goes when you turn off the switch.
But sometimes the questions children ask are tough and quite serious, like “Why does God allow bad things to happen?”, “Why do people get sick and die?”, or “Why are there things like war?”
Those kinds of inquiries aren’t easy to answer, and they usually come out of left field when parents least expect them.
So how should a parent respond to questions like those?
We’re going to dig into that on today’s program. We’ll discuss a lot of practical ideas to prepare you to answer tough questions and to help you deal with them in a straightforward, age-appropriate way.
Take questions about death, for example. There may be no more difficult situation to speak to a child about than the death of a loved one. A lot of parents try to act unusually strong in those moments in the hopes of curtailing their child’s fears. It’s an understandable reaction, but a more effective approach is to be authentic with your emotions in an age-appropriate manner.
Your kids don’t need you to be the hero. They need to learn that Jesus Christ is the hero and that He is strong enough to handle their fears and doubts. So don’t set up your strength as the end all. Set up God’s sovereignty and His love for them as the end all.
In situations like a family member passing away, young children will typically take what parents say at face value. Older children and teenagers, on the other hand, will often grapple with circumstances at a much deeper level. They’re likely to say something like, “I don’t understand how a God who you have always said is good, loving, and powerful can allow something like this to happen.”
What would you say to that?
One way to respond would be to say, “No one has the answer for every single question in life, and I don’t know all the answers for this. But I know who God is, and I know His character. And I have confidence in the One who loves us enough to send His Son to die in our place and raise Him from the dead.”
That accomplishes two things: First, it encourages your child to trust God’s character. Second, telling your child, “I don’t know,” is often a very important and appropriate response. Children need to know that being a person of faith doesn’t mean having an answer for everything. Sometimes faith means trusting God in the dark.
There are many more questions about life kids may ask about, like divorce, tragedy in the news, sex, and even questions about parts of the Bible that aren’t exactly G-rated. Whatever our children are wondering about, they can learn that believers can know that God uses our difficulties and suffering to bring about His redemption in His way.
The Bible has real answers for real hurt, real pain, and real problems right now.
I hope you’ll join us for our program with Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson, first-time guests to our studios. They’re mother and daughter as well as co-authors, and both have degrees in theology.
I think you’ll appreciate their practical suggestions and will feel empowered to navigate the big questions of life with your kids. As always, you can listen to the broadcast on your local radio station or find it anytime online or via our free, downloadable mobile phone app.